As the 2016 election season progresses, there are crucial issues effecting women-owned businesses, such as barriers to entrepreneurship, impact of government rule-making, and the vital role of women entrepreneurs in economic growth. To that end, 10 Things Women Entrepreneurs Want Candidates to KnowÂ has been released by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and Women Impacting Public Policy in Washington, D.C.
1. Female entrepreneurs are an economic powerhouse. Making up one-third of all businesses, women-owned firms are growing at four times the rate of men-owned firms and contribute $1.6 trillion to the American economy.
2. Female business owners are not getting the capital they need.Â Only four percent of all commercial loan dollars go to women. Regulatory burden on community banks—a traditional source of capital for women entrepreneurs—has increased costs and made it difficult for these institutions to rationalize smaller loans.
3. Healthcare costs continue to rise for employers. Congress and The Administration must bring competitively priced and accessible health options to female business owners. Reinstating Health Reimbursement Arrangements is a key step in providing simple and flexible healthcare options to women entrepreneurs.
4.Â There needs to be parity in federal procurement opportunities.Â In 2015, reaching the goal of awarding five percent of contracts to women-owned firms set the tone for the federal market. To ensure women can bring innovative solutions to government problems, more needs to be done.
5. Â Women-owned businesses are a good investment. Despite the growth of women-owned businesses, only three percent of all venture capital goes to companies run by women. The limited number of female fund managers is a factor in this statistic.
6. Female business owners seek markets beyond U.S. borders. With 95% of consumers living outside of the U.S., women’s business growth must be fueled by access to international markets.Â The federal government should complement nonprofit and private export assistance to small businesses.
7. The burden of regulation can be crushing.Â Firms with fewer than 20 employees, which make up the bulk of women-owned businesses, pay an average of 30% more per employee in regulatory costs. Smarter regulations and a more transparent regulatory process will produce more efficient regulations.
8. Female entrepreneurs embrace technology.Â Female business owners are important consumers of technology and are innovators driving technological advancement.Â More investment and more access to the technologies and platforms is needed to help female business owners compete and succeed.
9. Female business owners have unique policy goals and insights.Â Supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem will require female business owners to have advocates within institutions such as the SEC, CFPB, and other agencies.
10. Female business owners seek fairness from the tax system. The current tax code impacts—and effectively restricts—the plans of women business owners and potential growth of their firms.